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Monday, February 4, 2008

Social Marketing and Public Relations

Evidence of the growth of social media is everywhere:

  • In 2006, the Blogosphere had grown 100 times in three years, and accounted for 50 million blogs (Technorati, 2006).
  • 57% of teens who use the Internet can be considered content producers in some way or another (Fox & Lenhart, 2006).
  • More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use social networking sites (Lenhart & Madden, 2007).
  • In April 2006, 35,000 new videos were being posted daily to YouTube and in February 2006, YouTube attracted 9 million visitors who viewed 176 million pages (Liedtke, 2006).
  • Wikipedia consistently places in the top-10 results for Google searches on fortune-500 brand names (Fadner, 2006).
The results can be seen throughout the past several years with the emergence of blogs, podcasts, social networks and a number of other innovations we collectively refer to as social media. Several common traits define social media:
  • User-driven - • Content is not controlled by editors, distributors and other outside influences but instead is primarily generated by the users themselves.
  • Organic Content - • In social media, content is constantly being reshaped and repurposed. An article posted one day may be edited the next day, while a video may reappear mixed or “mashed” with another video days later.
  • Community-oriented - • Collaboration, participation and shared interests are the foundation of all social media, creating a distinct community to each site.
  • Easy to use - • Taking advantage of social media is simplified to be accessible for broad audiences, enabling anyone to post or share within the community, regardless of their technical training or aptitude.
The New Social Media Outlets
New social media outlets have sprung up throughout the Internet, including:
  • Blogs
Despite the early years of the Internet, Web development was only for the technically savvy. Over time, Web publishing tools have become easier to use, opening up publishing opportunities for even non-technically savvy users. Around the year 2000, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) made it possible to syndicate Web content. These two developments: simplification of Web development and RSS set the table for the explosion of the blogosphere--the interconnected world of blogs. Although some use their blogs as a publishing platform, most successful bloggers interact with their audiences through comments and with other bloggers through hyperlinks and Trackbacks (1 Trackback is a method that allows Bloggers to be notified when their content receives traction through the Blogosphere.).With an informal tone and very limited editorial review process, if any, blogs have become more timely than the mainstream media in many cases.
  • Podcasts
Although podcasts are normally defined as audio versions of blogs, it is not entirely accurate. They do share many characteristics with blogs, such as RSS and the personalized tone, but the production effort is currently substantially higher than with blogging. Podcasts also lack the interactive nature of blogs. For example, while text allows the blogger to include hyperlinks, it is far more difficult with audio or video. Video podcasts have increased in popularity over the past several years. They share many traits with standard audio podcasts, including the same challenges to interactivity. Interestingly though, interactivity may enhance video podcasting before audio podcasting. Several organizations are looking at ways of embedding hyperlinks into video. For example, Siemens is developing a method that would train technicians with video manuals that would allow them to click on components in the video to retrieve more detailed video clips on that component (Economist, 2006).
  • Social Networking sites
When Microsoft Outlook was introduced, people were able to place their rolodexes online and communicate with their contacts through e-mail. Social networking takes this basic function and adds two important facets. First, in social networking sites you create a personal profile: your own personal Web page to represent you on the Internet, including general statistics, hobbies
and anything else you would like to include. Second, social networking provides an opportunity to extend your personal network. Social networking sites allow you to extend your personal network, to include your friend’s and their friends. These sites have opened up the Web for users to socialize virtually. Creating your online persona, you are now ready to connect
with the people you choose with no geographical boundaries. Over time, the capabilities offered through social networking Web sites have become increasingly sophisticated, incorporating file sharing, instant messaging, forums and Blogs. With over 150 million users on MySpace alone, social networks have also become the single-most popular form of social media.
  • Wikis
In its most basic form, a wiki is a Web site that fosters collaboration. Imagine you are sitting in a brainstorming session with several of your co-workers. Suddenly, you have a great idea so you walk up to the white board and begin to sketch it out. Once you finish, a co-worker has a complementary idea and walks up to the board and adds onto your original sketch. Another
co-worker mentions that they had a similar idea months ago, so they snap their fingers and it suddenly appears on an adjacent white board. And so on and so on. Most wikis store each version of a document, allowing you to review versions to view the various modifications that a document has undergone over time. In many cases, there is an open discussion about the documents they are collaborating on. Wiki software drives Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia and an increasingly influential online resource. Wikipedia’s rapid ascent is in large part a result of being completely user-driven. All of the content is collaboratively developed by writers and editors around the world.
  • Media sharing sites
In February 2005, three friends and former co-workers at PayPal registered a domain name with the intention of launching a Web site to allow users to upload, watch and share videos. Over the next several months, they developed the site and attracted
venture capital funding, which allowed them to accelerate its development. Fast-forward a little over a year and that small company called YouTube was sold to Google for $1.65 billion in stock. Due to their rapid and astronomically lucrative ascent, YouTube has become a household name and the leading example of a media sharing site.
While YouTube’s focus on video played a major role in their high market valuation, media sharing sites can involve various types of media including photography (e.g. Flickr) or news (e.g. Digg). Alternatively, they can focus on emerging media like Adobe Flash (e.g. Newgrounds) and even Web bookmarks (e.g.
Media sharing sites offer users the ability to upload and share different types of media. In addition to being platforms for sharing media, they are also distribution points for public consumption. Content on highly visible pages within the site, like the home page, are normally decided through democratic processes. The tagging process, in which a user adds descriptive information to a piece of content, allows users to share content (including multimedia content) that is not easily read by search engine crawlers.
Media sharing sites are not only about sharing media, but like all forms of social media, they are about sociability and dialogue.

Advantages of Social Media
Social media is important for a number of key reasons:
  • Stickier than traditional media -• Social media has the potential to attract and hold the attention of a vast demographic of people who have grown numb to more traditional forms of marketing and advertising. According to a study conducted by InsightExpress, a market research firm, consumer trust in advertising has decreased 41% over the past three years (Elkin, 2005). Meanwhile social media engages consumers in a way that encourages trust and profoundly increases message retention. According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), 92% of consumers cite word of mouth as the best source of information on new product ideas.
  • Viral Nature - • Social media has a tremendous viral capacity to reach wide audiences in just a short amount of time, a substantial opportunity and threat for communications professionals. While a well-placed outreach effort can reap tremendous rewards if executed properly, it can just as easily result in a negative viral outcome for organizations that were not properly prepared to deal with the ensuing firestorm. For example, Warner Brothers has attributed almost $100 million in revenue for March of the Penguins, to positive buzz generated from the independent podcast ‘Mommycast’ (Gillin, 2006). Whereas, Dan Rather can attribute his demise to Rathergate, when rumblings of unauthenticated documents spread throughout social media and ended up in the celebrated news mans early retirement.
  • Interactive - • Traditionally, media organizations would make investments in research in order to assess the efficacy of their media efforts. Through social media, organizations can now communicate and get immediate feedback from users, encouraginga process of dialogue between user and organization. Enabling comments on a corporate blog, for example, has resulted in a positive impact for many organizations that have been able to gain valuable customer feedback from the practice.
  • High visibility on the ‘Net'- • Social media has grown up on the ‘Net. As a result, social media holds a favorable positionfor visibility. Wikipedia is perhaps the most notable example of this phenomenon. Spannerworks, a search engine marketing specialist, recently reported that social media platform Wikipedia appears in the top 20 Google search results for 88 percent of searches for the top 100 global brands (Mayfield, 2007).
In just a short amount of time, social media has made a big splash. Perhaps the most significant indicator of social media’s importance is its’ impact on the traditional media landscape. The symbiotic relationship between the two is increasingly visible. While social media continues to borrow from the latest headlines, Newspaper journalists now have their own Blogs and the Tonight Show plays footage from YouTube.
Social media has significantly altered the world of media unlike any other medium. With its viral, informal and unedited format, it will continue to grow and change and present new opportunities for both public relations and traditional journalists. The integration of social media into the overall media landscape represents a new challenge for PR professionals.

For full report of Social Marketing and Public Relations go to
Optimize your Public Relations with Social Marketing by Vocus White Paper.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol

File Transfer Protocol

The objectives of FTP is:

  1. To promote sharing of files (computer programs and/or data).
  2. To encourage indirect or implicit use of remote computers.
  3. To shield a user from variations in file storage systems among different hosts.
  4. To transfer data reliably, and efficiently.
Every USU student has been given room on the USU server to hold files and information. To put files on the server an FTP program is needed. Downloadable programs are available at the sites provided on the link directory on the side of the blog.

The address is
The user is either your A# or your cc email account (the words before the, usually your name.)
The password is your aggiemail password or the password to your cc email account.
Then you want to quick connect.
Once connected you should see the computers folders on one side and a .www folder on the other. Click and drag the document you want to put on the web from the first window into the .www folder.
The file has been shared.
When creating your blog post you then need to enter the link to your file. For example if you named your file "Slideshow" the link would be: name)/slideshow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2300 Assignment #1 Postitioning 'You'

JCOM 2300 – Fall Semester 07

Assignment #1:

Positioning ‘You’ (30 Pts.)

Goals of Assignment;

Primary: To introduce the Positioning Framework tool and begin using the student’s existing knowledge to build and use effective PR messages.

Secondary: To help the student better refine their own career goals and personal positioning for future (or existing) employers.

Format: This assignment has 5 sections, all of which need to be completed for full credit. I will be looking for 3 specific documents compiled into a portfolio blog;

  1. a written paper covering Section 1 & 2, posted to your blog,

  2. a completed positioning framework, and

  3. a single PowerPoint slide (or 81/2X10 equivalent) posted on your blog with your talking points.

The 5 sections are listed below.

SECTION 1: Identify the problem or situation. Apply research to support the problem or situation. Frame your assignment as either; 1) Problem (ie no job prospects, not sure what you want to do, PR jobs very thin, etc.) OR 2) Situation such as you KNOW the job OR industry you want but you need to be prepared and focused so you can gain a position in a particular company or industry. If the later, please tell me why you have chosen this field, industry or company. In both situations make sure you include #1 Who is your target audience? #2 What industry, geography, position, pay scale, etc. are you targeting? #3 What do you hope to achieve? Be honest and realistic. If plans are to go to graduate or law school – please tell me why.

Expectations: 2-3 paragraphs with supporting data and sources posted to your blog.

Examples; “The current job market is very tight according to XYZ Association (Data source). New hiring in the PR field is down X% from last year and a further XX% lower since 2001.” “ABC Company is hiring 10 new associates and I am one of 50 interviewing.” “The non-profit sector is responsible for saving X # or rain forests every year and is hiring at a rate of XX%.” “Regular pay scale for entry-level PR Associate at an agency is $XXX.XX per year. (Source” and/or; “According to, the growth for new PR hires will be in the biotech industry – with growth rates of XX% over the next 3 years.”

SECTION 2: State and support your goals. List an OUTPUT goal (ie how much work you will produce) and 2-3 IMPACT goals (Results from your work).

Expectations: 1-3 objectives. OUTPUT Examples; “I will conduct research on 10 companies in the non-profit industry by the end of the semester.”, “I will contact 25 people in the XXX industry by May 2005.” IMPACT Examples; “I will have a network of 35 employment contacts in the non-profit PR industry by the end of the semester.” “10 out of 50 hi-tech employers contacted for interviews will agree to the interview.” “50% of first interviews with agencies will turn into second interviews.” “I will have my first job offer from MTV by December 2004.”

SECTION 3: Complete the Positioning Framework. Make sure you use only real data, credentials, and facts to support. Expectations: Fill-out the framework completely – be as succinct and accurate as possible.

SECTION 4: Create your talking point slide and post it to your blog. This requires accuracy and clarity. On a single Powerpoint slide, list your 3 key talking points. These talking points will become your ‘elevator pitch’ (ie if you are in an elevator with a potential employer and have 4 floors to tell him/her why they should hire you – what would you tell them?).

SECTION 5: Apply the research and talking points to a personal blog. Build your own blog through or or any other host site. The blog needs to incorporate your talking points and be directed at the job or industry you are interested in. Consider color scheme, images, and wording. The blog should represent the research you have done and describe who you are.

NOTE: I strongly suggest starting early as this assignment will require you to make multiple edits and refinements. By the end of the assignment, you should be able to tell anyone, in less than 15 seconds, who you are as it relates to your job search. Long, lengthy, superlative language will not be easy to say or understand, therefore you MUST be succinct, believable, and each statement needs to be defendable.

Find the positioning frame work document here.

Examples of positioning assignment here.